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ENGL150 syllabus


Spring 2022 WGSS481

Feminist Theory


Guide to Avoiding Plagiarism: What It Is and How to Recognize and Avoid It.

(Adapted to fit standard practice in English studies from the Guide Produced by Writing Tutorial Services, Indiana University)


What is Plagiarism and Why is it Important?

In college courses, we are continually engaged with other people’s ideas: we read them in texts, hear them in lecture, discuss them in class, and incorporate them into our own writing. As a result, it is very important that we give credit where it is due. Plagiarism is using others' ideas and words without clearly acknowledging the source of that information.


How Can Students Avoid Plagiarism?

To avoid plagiarism, you must give credit whenever you use


How to Recognize Unacceptable and Acceptable Paraphrases

Here's the ORIGINAL text, from page 1 of Lizzie Borden: A Case Book of Family and Crime in the 1890s by Joyce Williams et al.:

The rise of industry, the growth of cities, and the expansion of the population were the three great developments of late nineteenth century American history. As new, larger, steam-powered factories became a feature of the American landscape in the East, they transformed farm hands into industrial laborers, and provided jobs for a rising tide of immigrants. With industry came urbanization the growth of large cities (like Fall River, Massachusetts, where the Bordens lived) which became the centers of production as well as of commerce and trade.

Here’s an UNACCEPTABLE paraphrase that is plagiarism:

The increase of industry, the growth of cities, and the explosion of the population were three large factors of nineteenth century America. As steam-driven companies became more visible in the eastern part of the country, they changed farm hands into factory workers and provided jobs for the large wave of immigrants. With industry came the growth of large cities like Fall River where the Bordens lived which turned into centers of commerce and trade as well as production.

What makes this passage plagiarism?

The preceding passage is considered plagiarism for two reasons:

If you do either or both of these things, you are plagiarizing.

Here’s an ACCEPTABLE paraphrase:

According to Joyce Williams, Fall River, where the Borden family lived, was typical of northeastern industrial cities of the nineteenth century. Steam-powered production had shifted labor from agriculture to manufacturing, and as immigrants arrived in the US, they found work in these new factories. As a result, populations grew, and large urban areas arose. Fall River was one of these manufacturing and commercial centers (Williams 1).

Why is this passage acceptable?

This is acceptable paraphrasing because the writer:

Here's an example of quotation and paraphrase used together, which is also ACCEPTABLE:

According to Joyce Williams, Fall River, where the Borden family lived, was typical of northeastern industrial cities of the nineteenth century. As steam-powered production shifted labor from agriculture to manufacturing, the demand for workers transformed farm hands into industrial laborers, and created jobs for immigrants. In turn, growing populations increased the size of urban areas. Fall River was one of these hubs which became the centers of production as well as of commerce and trade (Williams 1).

Why is this passage acceptable?

This is acceptable paraphrasing because the writer:

Note that if the writer had used these phrases or sentences in her own paper without putting quotation marks around them, she would be PLAGIARIZING. Using another person's phrases or sentences without putting quotation marks around them is considered plagiarism EVEN IF THE WRITER CITES IN HER OWN TEXT THE SOURCE OF THE PHRASES OR SENTENCES SHE HAS QUOTED.


Plagiarism and the World Wide Web

The World Wide Web has become a more popular source of information for student papers, and many questions have arisen about how to avoid plagiarizing these sources. In most cases, the same rules apply as to a printed source: when a writer must refer to ideas or quote from a WWW site, she must cite that source.


Strategies for Avoiding Plagiarism


What is Common Knowledge?

Common knowledge: facts that can be found in numerous places and are likely to be known by a lot of people.

Example: John F. Kennedy was elected President of the United States in 1960.

This is generally known information. You do not need to document this fact.

However, you must document facts that are not generally known and ideas that interpret facts.

Example: According to the American Family Leave Coalition’s new book, Family Issues and Congress, President Bush's relationship with Congress has hindered family leave legislation (6).

The idea that Bush's relationship with Congress has hindered family leave legislation is not a fact but an interpretation; consequently, you need to cite your source.


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